Book Review: Sarudzayi Barnes

From the Case Files of the Dread Eye Detective Agency….Uriah’s Vengeance, by Masimba Musodza
Published by the Lion Press Ltd UK in February 2009
ISBN 978-0-9558082-5-8

THERE is no doubt that lovers of crime-cum-thriller books will find this book by Masimba Musodza a powerful and compelling read.


In the book, Masimba not only transforms the face of Zimbabwean literature by departing from the traditional themes portraying socio-economic issues, but also creates a crime series that mirrors the modern crime-cum-thriller detective stories like the James Hadley Chase crime thrillers or the Alexander McCall Smith’s Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency thriller set in Botswana. Masimba’s detective series are far from the wife-cheating husband investigations, but gangsters and murder cases.

The Dread Eye Detective Agency is an investigative agency set up in Chitungwiza –– the sprawling city a few kilometres outside Harare (where the author was born and raised) –– by returnees from the Diaspora who seek to inject life in the dying city by investing in it. Farai and Ce-Ce are two siblings born in a Rastafarian family, and seek to overcome the challenges faced by the stereotyped Rastafarian in getting employment in a country where most of the employers are more concerned about one’s appearance than what one can offer.

Thus Farai and sister Ce-Ce pool together resources to start a private detective agency. 

Uriah’s Vengeance is their first complex investigation involving love, revenge, blackmail and murder. A woman from the affluent suburbs in Harare, described as heavily dressed in expensive African attire, heavy make-up and wearing one of the most expensive perfumes from the French brands, knocks on the door of the Dread Eye Detective Agency early one morning looking worried about someone threatening to kill her husband.

She wants the detectives to find the blackmailer as well as provide 24-hour surveillance to her husband. Money is not the problem here; she can pay anything for the protection of her husband.

What starts as a mere investigation to find a blackmailer turns out to be a cold-bloodied murder case, one that both the police and private investigators find difficult to solve as the murderers seem to be far much smarter than the law enforcers and the investigators.

Through twist and turns, the author unlocks a complicated jigsaw puzzle in a way that leaves the reader on the edge. This is one of those books one can’t put down until the end.

 

It is also that book that lingers in your memory for long after you finish reading it.

Available from www.masimbamusonza.com, www.thelionpressltd.com,  Amazon.com and will also be sold in a few selected bookshops in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

BY SARUDZAYI BARNES